Vitiligo is a skin disease, which results in white patches over large areas of the body. These are due to depigmentation. Vitiligo is caused when the body stops producing melanin in the skin. The exact reason why the body stop producing melanin is not know, but several theories exist.
Genetics may play a role, as Vitiligo is occasionally seen in more than one family member. Some medical professionals believe there is an immune system disorder that causes the skin to stop melanin production. Victims of Vitiligo have reported trigger incidents of stress and sunburn prior to onset of symptoms. Other than the white patches of skin, there are no other physical symptoms of Vitiligo. While we do see Vitiligo in more than one family member about 20% of the time, about 80% of patients report no other family members with Vitiligo.
Many believe that Vitiligo is a type of autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system sees the pigment cells in the skin as foreign bodies, and attacks them. The basis for this autoimmune disorder is believed by many to be genetic.
Since Vitiligo is considered hereditary it is only natural that people who want to have children are concerned about Vitiligo and pregnancy. Children of Vitiligo affected parents are more likely to develop the skin disorder. However, most children will not get the skin disorder even if a parent has it. Also most people with Vitiligo do not have a family history of the disorder.
Large number of inherited disorders is associated with Vitiligo. They include: albinism of the ocular type, autoimmune polyendocrinopathy syndrome, congenital deafness with Vitiligo and achalasia, dyschromatosis symmetrica hereditaria.
Also women with Vitiligo have questions about whether or not they should take their Vitiligo treatment while pregnant. It is said that there can be some medicines which are used for the treatment of Vitilogo can pass through the placenta and to the foetus, so it’s a matter of concern. These medicines should be stopped after consulting a doctor, as they can pose a severe risk to the baby. Pregnant women should consult both their dermatologist and obstetrician regarding this matter.
Strong topical creams should also be avoided, specially while breastfeeding. Since this disease differs from person to person in severity and also the type of patches, there can be no general recommendation. Every patient should take the concerns and questions to their doctors, and chart out a plan which is most suitable to them.
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